We spent the night at the private reserve
which is one of the best places to find
Long-whiskered Owlet and Ochre-fronted Antpitta.
The Long-whiskered Owlet is a tiny owl that is
endemic to cloud forests within a small area in the Andean mountains
in northern Peru.
It is nearly the smallest owl in the world; only the Elf Owl of North
America is smaller.
The species was first discovered in 1976 when an individual flew into a
mist net, and a free flying individual was never seen in the wild until
2007. As of 2010 it was estimated that fewer than 15 people had seen
It is estimated that the total population is between 250
and 1000 individuals. There are still only a few sites where the species
has been found, although there are
now a couple of locations where it is fairly reliable; Alto Nieva is one of them.
The Ochre-fronted Antpitta is equally rare, and also fairly reliably found at Alto Nieva.
These two species are illustrated on this sign.
Alto Nieva headquarters. They are off the grid here,
but despite the ever-present clouds, they are apparently able to meet their electrical needs
from solar panels mounted on the horizontal platform seen here.
These two cabins were our quarters for the night.
The cabins were new and apparently we were among the first to stay there.
There was an interesting moth of the genus
Rothschildia in our cabin. I guess that's about a 4 inch beam.
The night that we arrived, it was raining at nightfall,
which was regarded as making it unproductive to look for the owlet, so we did not try.
We went out before daybreak the next morning in hopes of calling an owlet into view by playing
recordings of its call. No luck. But we did get excellent looks at an Ochre-fronted Antpitta,
by dawn's early light that was unsuitable for my camera. Oh well, there are always hummingbirds.
Booted Racket-tail. Note the thick white feathering on the legs, hence “booted”.
And, racket-tailed because the tail has a couple of long wiry feathers with expanded racket-like tips.
Female Booted Racket-tail
female Violet-fronted Brilliant
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager at a feeder
The group at Alto Nieva